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God sitting on his throne sees Satan flying towards this world, then newly created; shows him to the Son who sat at his right hand; foretells the success of Satan in perverting mankind; clears his own justice and wisdom from all imputation, having created Man free and able enough to have withstood his tempter; yet declare* his purpose of grace towards him, in regard he fell not of his own malice, as did Satan, but by him seduced. The Son ofGod renders praises to his Father for the manifestation of his gracious purpose towards Man ; but God again declares, that grace cannot be extended towards Man without the satisfaction of divine justice; Man hath offended the majesty of God by aspiring to godhead, and, therefore, with all his progeny devoted to death must die, unless some one can be found sufficient to answer for his offence, and undergo his punishment The Son of God freely offers himself a ransom for Man: the Father accepts him ordains his incarnation, pronounces his exaltation above all names in Heaven and Earth; commands all the Angels to adore him; they obey, and hymning to their harps in full choir, celebrate the Father and the Son. Meanwhile Satan alights upon the bare convex of this world's outermost orb; where wandering, he first finds re place, since called the Limbo of Vanity; what persons and things fly up thitherw hence comes to the gate of Heaven, describedascending by stairs, and the waters above the firmament that flow about it; his passage thence to the orb of the sun; he finds there Uriel, the regent of that orb, but first chin ges himself into the shape of a meaner Angel; and pretending a zealous desire to behold the new creation and Man whom God had placed here, inquires of him the place of his habitation, and is directed - alights first on mount Niphutes.
Hah. holy Light, offspring of heav'n, first-born.
Or of th' Eternal co-eternal beam;
May I express thee unblam'd? since God is light.
And never but in unapproached light
Dwelt from eternity, dwelt then in thee,
Bright effluence of bright essence increate.
Or hear'st thou rather pure ethereal stream,
Whose fountain who shall tell? before the sun,
Before the heav'ns thou wert, and at the voice
Of God, as with a mantle didst invest
The rising world of waters dark and deep,
Won from the void and formless infinite.
Thee I revisit now with bolder wing,
Escap'd the Stygian pool, though long detain'd
In that obscure sojourn, while in my flight
Through utter and through middle darkness borne
With other r otes than to th' Orphean lyre
I sung of Ch aos and eternal Night,
Taught by the heav'nly Muse to venture down
The dark descent, and up to reascend,
Though hard and rare - thee I revisit safe,
And feel thy sov'reign vital lamp; but thou
Revisit'st not these eyes, that roll in vain
To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn;
So thick a drop serene hath quench'd their Or In,
Or dim suffusion veil'd. Yet not the more
Cease I to wander, where the Muses haunt
Clear spring, or shady grove, or sunny hill
Smit with the love of sacred song; but chief
Thee Sion, and the flow'ry brooks beneath,
That wash thy hallow'd feet, and warbling flow
Nightly I visit; nor sometimes forget
Those other two equall'd with me in fate,
So were I equall'd with them in renown.
Blind Thamyris and blind Msonides,
And Tiresias and Phineus prophets old:
Then feed on thoughts, that voluntary move
Harmonious numbers; as the wakeful bird
Sings darkling, and in shadiest covert hid,
Tunes her nocturnal note. Thus with the year
Seasons return, but not to me returns
Day, or the sweet approach of ev'n or morn,
Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose,
Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine;
But cloud instead, and ever-during dark
Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of men
Cut off, and for the book of knowledge fair
Presented with a universal blank
Of nature's works, to me expung'd and raz'd,
And wisdom at one entrance quite shut ou..
So much the rather thou, celestial Light,
Shine inward, and the mind through all her pow'rs
Irradiate, there plant eyes, all mist from thence
Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell
Of things invisible to mortal sight.
Now had th' Almighty Father from above, From the pure empyrean where he sits High throned above all height, bent down his eye, His own works and their works at once to view; About him all the Sanctities of heav'n Stood thick as stars, and from his sight receiv'd Beatitude past utterance; on his right The radiant image of his glory sat, His only Son; on earth he first beheld Our two first parents yet the only two
Of mankind, in the happy garden plac'd
Reaping immortal fruits of joy and love,
Uninterrupted joy, unrivall'd love
In blissful solitude; he then survey'd
Hell and the gulf between, and Satan there.
Coasting the wall of heav'n on this side Night
In the dun air sublime, and ready now
To stoop with wearied wings and willing feet
On the bare outside of this world, that seem'd
Firm land imbosom'd, without firmament,
Uncertain which, in ocean or in air.
Him God beholding from his prospect high,
Wherein past, present, future he beholds,
Thus to his only Son foreseeing spake:
Only begotten Son, seest thou what rage Transports our Adversary? whom no bounds prescribed, no bars of hell, nor all the chains Heap'd on him there, nor yet the main abyss Wide interrupt can hold; so bent he seems On desperate revenge, that shall redound Upon his own rebellious head. And now Through all restraint broke loose he wings his way Not far off heaven, in the precincts of light, Directly tow'rds the new created world, And man there plac'd, with purpose to assay If him by force he can destroy, or worse, By some false guile pervert; and shall pervert, For man will hearken to his glozing lies, And easily transgress the sole command, Sole pledge of his obedience: so will fall, He and his faithless progeny: Whose fault? Whose but his own? Ingrate, he had of me All he could have; I made him just and right, Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall. Such I created all th' ethereal pow'rs And spirits, both them who stood, and them who ft. i Freely they stood who stood, and fell who fell Not free, what proof could they have giv'n sincere Of true allegiance, constant faith or love.
Where only what they needs must do apnear'd,
Not what they would ? what praise could they "-oreivo'
What pleasure I from such obedience paid,
When will and reason (reason also is choice)
Useless and vain, of freedom both despoil'd,
Made passive both, had serv'd necessity,
Not me? They therefore as to right belong'd,
So were created, nor can justly accuse
Their Maker, or their making, or their fate,
As if predestination overrul'd
Their will, dispos'd by absolute decree
Or high foreknowledge; they themselves decreed
Their own revolt, not I; if I foreknew,
Foreknowledge had no influence on their fault,
Which had no less prov'd certain unforeknown.
So without least impulse or shadow of fate
Or ought by me immutably foreseen,
They trespass, authors to themselves in all
Both what they judge and what they choose; for M
I form'd them free, and free they must remain,
Till they inthral themselves; I else must change
Their nature, and revoke the high decree
Unchangeable, eternal, which ordain'd
Their freedom, they themselves ordain'd their fall.
The first sort by their own suggestion fell,
Self-tempted, self-deprav'd: Man falls, deceiv'd
By th' other first: Man therefore shall find grace,
The other none: in mercy and justice both,
Through heav'n and earth, so shall my glory excel •
But mercy first and last shall brightest shine.
Thus while God spake, ambrosial fragrance fil 'd All heav'n, and in the bless'd Spirits elect Sense of new joy ineffable diffus'd: Beyond compare the Son of God was seen Most glorious; in him all his Father shone Substantially express'd, and in his face Divine compassion visibly appear'd, Love without end and without measure grace, Which uttering thus he to his Father spake •